If you are a disagreeable person you might gravitate to aggressive dogs, such as boxers, bull terriers or pit bulls, researchers have found at a recent study done by the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology. The findings were published in the journal Anthrozoos.
The Study has found; however, no link between liking an aggressive dog and delinquent behavior, nor does the study mean that it is an act of ‘status display’ to show off or attract romantic partners.
Lead researcher Dr. Vincent Egan on the study said, “This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs are antisocial show-offs.”
Professor Egan explained in the study why some people preferred aggressive dog breeds.
"A lot of human behavior involves status display and dominance, and evolutionarily this helps with finding mates. Basic personality also influences a lot of our behavior. By measuring both at the same time, we could see whether they each had an influence on liking aggressive dogs, or whether one was due to another.”
People who liked cocker spaniels and retrievers were seen as least aggressive, according to the study.
In conclusion, the research team found that certain personality factors indicated a preference for dogs perceived to be more aggressive. Low agreeableness and higher conscientiousness were related to a preference for aggressive dog breeds. Younger people were also more likely to prefer the aggressive breeds.
Dr. Egan added, “We were surprised to find a small association between a preference for aggressive dogs and greater Conscientiousness (i.e., valuing and following rules). However, dogs also prefer rules and firm boundaries themselves. We speculate that cheap dog-training classes would be enjoyable and beneficial for both dog and owner.”
In the study seven common breeds of dog were rated by 235 participants living within the UK and North America, using an online survey application. Participants also completed scales measuring personality, earlier delinquency, and mating effort. A clear dimension in perceived aggressiveness was found across dog breeds.
Some of the findings imply that some people linked to aggressive dogs are not always irresponsible. In the study, participants indicated their preference for different types of dogs, and filled in personality tests. The dogs were independently rated according to how aggressive people perceived them to be.
Other reports cite that dogs can be aggressive for several reasons, such as how they are raised and treated by their owners and if they have fear or are guarding their territory.